Bakel Antioxidant Serum Review

This is a review of the Bakel Antioxidant Serum. Bakel is an Italian skin care company based in Udine, whose products include as few ingredients as possible in order to minimize allergies and irritation among users. The company’s philosophy is to eliminate “useless substances” and include only active ingredients that actually do something for your skin. Bakel products do not contain alcohol, fragrance, preservatives, artificial coloring, parabens, animal derivatives, or sulfates. It does not test on animals.

The founders of the company are Raffaella Gregoris and Francesca di Lenardo.

The Bakel Antioxidant Serum contains only three ingredients: vegetable glycerin, lactobionic acid and gluconolactone (see further below for the science behind lactobionic acid and gluconolactone, both of which are polyhydroxy acids, claimed to be less irritating but as effective as alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs). Vegetable glycerin is a humectant (prevents dryness).

Bakel Antioxidant Serum claims

According to Bakel, this serum “restores, rejuvenates, tones and tightens the face, neck, eyes and chest area with an innovative complex of 3 anti-aging ingredients. Antioxidant-rich lactobionic acid neutralizes free radicals and promotes firmness while hydrating vegetable glycerin revives dull, dry skin. Toning gluconolactone protects skin from environmental aggressors for a radiant and revitalized complexion.

Effects of Bakel Antioxidant Serum on my skin

I used the serum for 7 days. I applied it in the morning and in the evening after washing my face. I did not use anything else after applying the serum. Because I have normal-to-oily combination skin, I did not feel the need to add more moisture to my face. You have to massage the serum gently into your face until it is fully absorbed. I am sensitive to AHAs: they give my skin that prickly, stinging sensation, and some AHA products cause my face to break out in red splotches. That is why I was so eager to try this product.

Fortunately, Bakel Antioxidant Serum caused no tingling, no irritation. After the first night of use, I woke up next morning with skin that felt softer and looked smoother. After only two days of use (4 applications), the large pores on my nose and cheeks looked smaller and tighter. Best of all, I had a radiant complexion and the few small red spots and discolorations on my face were gone. After 7 days of use, my skin looked and felt better than ever.

The Bakel Antioxidant Serum is a thin, clear liquid that comes out of a pump bottle (3o ml). Because Bakel has added no preservatives, the serum must be kept as airtight and protected from light as possible. One pump of the bottle was enough to cover most of my face.

I applied foundation (Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua one day, and La Roche Posay tinted mineral sunscreen, the next day) right after the serum and both applications were smooth (no balling up). The foundations lasted many hours.

People who have dry skin will most likely need to apply a moisturizer after the serum.

VERDICT: I like the Bakel Antioxidant Serum based upon the results I’ve seen on my face. It is gentle (no stinging, unlike AHAs) and delivers the results I expected (hydrated radiant complexion with smaller pores).

bakel antioxidant serum

You can buy Bakel Antioxidant Serum at the following locations in the United States: Space NK at Bloomingdales (and Space NK US website), Bergdorf Goodman, and Dermstore.

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The Science Behind Lactobionic Acid and Gluconolactone

Lactobionic acid and gluconolactone are polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). It is claimed that they are as effective as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) at exfoliating skin, but are less irritating. People who cannot tolerate AHAs have been advised to use PHAs. However, there are those who contend that PHAs are less effective because they are larger molecules than AHAs and cannot penetrate the skin as deeply as AHAs. Below are articles supporting the contention that PHAs are as effective as AHAs (but with decreased risk of skin irritation).

(1) Lactobionic acid in a natural alkylpolyglucoside-based vehicle: assessing safety and efficacy aspects in comparison to glycolic acid published in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 9, Issue 1, pages 3–10, March 2010 (authors: Marija Tasic-Kostov BSc, Snezana Savic PhD, Milica Lukic BSc, Slobodanka Tamburic PhD, Milos Pavlovic MD and Gordana Vuleta PhD):


Background/aims Lactobionic acid (LA) is a newer cosmeceutical active belonging to the class of alpha-hydroxyacids (AHAs), showing advantages over them. The aim of part I of this study was to compare efficacy and irritation potential of LA vs. glycolic acid (GA) from two types of vehicles – gel and emulsion. In part II, effects of LA-containing emulsions based on a new, natural emulsifier of alkylpolyglucoside (APG) type were evaluated.

Methods  Skin bioengineering was used on 77 healthy volunteers to assess: color as erythema and melanin (MI) index, transepidermal water loss, electrical capacitance and pH of the skin. In part I of the study, the parameters were measured after occlusion and periodically during 2 weeks of test samples application; in part II parameters were measured periodically during 4 weeks.

Results/conclusion  LA-containing samples has produced better skin performance when compared with corresponding GA-containing ones, particularly the lack of both skin irritation and skin barrier impairment. When used in vehicles based on a new APG-emulsifier, LA and GA have shown better efficacy, emphasizing the importance of vehicle on the effects of topical actives. LA (6%) in the emulsion based on APGs could be proposed as an alternative to low-molecular AHAs in cosmeceuticals.

(2) Effects of Cosmetic Formulations Containing Hydroxyacids on Sun-Exposed Skin: Current Applications and Future Developments (2012) by Andrija Kornhauser, Sergio G. Coelho, and Vincent J. Hearing.


This paper describes recent data on the effects of various skin formulations containing hydroxyacids (HAs) and related products on sun-exposed skin. The most frequently used classes of these products, such as α- and β-hydroxyacids, polyhydroxy acids, and bionic acids, are reviewed, and their application in cosmetic formulations is described. Special emphasis is devoted to the safety evaluation of these formulations, particularly on the effects of their prolonged use on sun-exposed skin. We also discuss the important contri- bution of cosmetic vehicles in these types of studies. Data on the effects of HAs on melanogenesis and tanning are also included. Up-to-date methods and techniques used in those explorations, as well as selected future developments in the cosmetic area, are presented.

(3) Below are the abstracts of two articles in Cutis (a peer-reviewed clinical journal for dermatologists, allergists and general practitioners) which claim that PHAs provide antiaging effects comparable to AHAs and that PHAs are effective in addressing the damage in photoaged skin.

Note, however, that one of the authors of these two articles (Edison BL) is affiliated with Neostrata, a company that sells AHA and PHA products. The scientists who discovered that AHAs are effective antiaging substances (and who own the patents to the use of AHAs for antiaging purposes) are the founders of Neostrata.

(a) Title: A polyhydroxy acid skin care regimen provides antiaging effects comparable to an alpha-hydroxyacid regimen
Cutis. 2004 Feb;73(2 Suppl):14-7

1NeoStrata Company, Inc, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.


There have been numerous clinical studies conducted to evaluate the beneficial effects of the polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in skincare. Although there is significant evidence that PHAs provide antiaging effects to skin, a direct comparison between alpha-hydroxyacids (AHAs) and PHAs for these effects has not been conducted. This 12-week clinical study evaluated gluconolactone-containing products (PHAs) in comparison with glycolic acid-containing products (AHAs). Clinical grading of photoaging, as well as objective and subjective irritation, was conducted on the face at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks of product use. Pinch recoil, silicone replicas of the crow’s-feet area, and self-assessment of product efficacy and tolerance were also collected. Both regimens showed significant antiaging benefits to skin as measured by silicone replicas, clinical grading, and pinch recoil for skin resiliency. There were only 2 statistically significant (P < .05) differences between the regimens in antiaging benefits: (1) sallowness showed greater improvement with AHA use at week 12 only (AHA, 17. 1%; PHA, 12.4%), and (2) pinch recoil showed greater improvement with AHA use at week 12 only (AHA, 13.5%; PHA, 10.2%). Irritation grading and subject self-assessment showed that the PHA regimen was better tolerated than the AHA regimen. Stinging and burning were significantly worse for subjects in the AHA treatment group at both week 6 and 12, and degree of sensitivity was rated worse for the AHA regimen as well. The present study shows the enhanced mildness of PHAs and their equivalence in providing antiaging benefits compared with an AHA regimen.

(b) Title: The use of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in photoaged skin
Cutis. 2004 Feb;73(2 Suppl):3-13.
Grimes PE1, Green BA, Wildnauer RH, Edison BL.

1Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.


The beneficial effects of alpha-hydroxyacids (AHAs) on skin were discovered by Drs. Van Scott and Yu in the early 1970s, including exfoliation, skin smoothing, and antiaging effects. A new generation of AHAs, called polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), was discovered that provide similar effects as AHAs but do not cause the sensory irritation responses that can limit the use of classical AHAs. PHAs have been found to be compatible with clinically sensitive skin, including rosacea and atopic dermatitis, and can be used after cosmetic procedures. PHAs provide additional humectant and moisturization properties compared with AHAs and can enhance stratum corneum barrier function, therefore increasing the skin’s resistance to chemical challenge. Most PHAs also possess antioxidant properties. PHAs such as gluconolactone or lactobionic acid may be used in combination with other products, ingredients, or procedures such as laser and microdermabrasion to provide additional benefits to therapy or to enhance the therapeutic effect. Several studies were conducted in support of this, and methods and results are discussed. In summary, PHA-containing products were used in combination with retinoic acid in treating adult facial acne and were found to be well tolerated. PHAs plus retinyl acetate (pro-vitamin A) in a cream base exhibited significant antiaging skin benefits such as skin smoothing and plumping. PHAs plus hydroquinone showed excellent improvement in antiaging and skin lightening parameters. Finally, PHA-containing products were shown to be compatible with African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic/Asian skin and provided significant improvements in photoaging in these populations.

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Other comments regarding Bakel’s products: It is commendable that Bakel reduces the number of ingredients in its products. This decreases the chances of getting an allergic reaction. However, one must ask whether the company is eliminating substances that could improve the penetration of the active ingredients into the skin. There is also a question of whether witch hazel water (hamamelis virginiana), which Bakel uses in several serums, is a potential skin irritant.

About Esme Vos

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